Certified Nursing Assistant (CNA)
A certified nursing assistant (CNA), or nurse’s aide is an important member of the healthcare team. These professionals follow nursing care plans to provide essential care and quality services to people who are sick, injured, aging or dying. CNAs can choose to work in hospitals, long-term care facilities and private homes to assist with common daily tasks such as dressing, toileting and feeding.
CNAs provide fundamental basic care and assist with activities of daily living which promote a patient’s physical and emotional wellbeing. Nursing assistants also ensure the safety of their patients and residents while delivering a high standard of care to boost their overall health. Some core responsibilities of CNAs include:
● Collecting specimens from patients for medical analysis
● Taking vital signs (blood pressure, temperature, pulse), and performing measurements (height, weight)
● Interacting with patients, recording their reported symptoms
● Observing and reporting signs of infection and any changes in the patient’s condition to the nursing staff
● Maintaining cleanliness and safety in patient or resident environments
● Feeding, dressing or helping residents use the toilet or bedpan
● Safely transferring patients (from bed, chair, or wheelchair), and repositioning
● Assist residents in getting to common areas for socialization and/or entertainment purposes
In accordance with state and federal requirements, nursing assistants must complete a New York State Department of Health (NYSDOH) approved education program, providing instruction on basic nursing principles, and supervised clinical training. Certified Nursing Assistant programs can be completed in as little as 5 weeks, with flexible class schedules and tuition costs as low as $800.
Exam and Certificates
CNAs typically have at least a high school diploma, GED or High School Equivalency or a licensed school might offer an Ability to Benefit exam, which gauges on student’s understanding of basic English and Mathematic skills. In order to practice, a CNA must pass the New York Nurse Aide Exam which consists of two parts:
1) A written exam (also available in an oral format)
2) A clinical skills (practical) exam
Nursing assistants who successfully pass both portions of the competency exam are listed on the NYS Nurse Aide Registry (NAR).
Basic Life Support (BLS) certification is required by many employers as healthcare workers may need to perform high-quality first aid procedures like cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) to sustain or revive individuals in life-threatening emergencies.
Career Outlook for CNAs
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, a Certified Nursing Assistant in New York State earned a median salary of $28, 540 in 2018, at an hourly rate of $13.72. The career outlook is excellent as the demand for nursing assistants rapidly grows with an increasing aging population and expanding healthcare industry. Compared with an average job growth of only 5%, the overall employment of CNAs is predicted to increase by 9% through 2028.
Start Your Career in Healthcare
While working in healthcare can be demanding, your contribution to improving the lives and well being of others can be incredibly rewarding. If you are committed to making a difference and interested in launching a stable career with many opportunities to advance or specialize you should consider becoming a CNA today!